Press Release
September 30, 2010

Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri
30 September 2010
Hotel Sofitel, Pasay City

Global Organization of Parliamentarians
Against Corruption (GOPAC) Conference
Regional Meeting of the
Southeast Asian Parliamentarians
Against Corruption (SEAPAC)

If I begin my speech by emphatically saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to one of the most corrupt countries in the world," I am quite certain that a good number of pessimists would readily agree with me while some would otherwise argue that there is, in fact, some truth to the statement. Although I admit that there exists corruption in the country, I seriously doubt, however, if the Philippines could actually lay exclusive claim to the title of being the most corrupt in the world. Corruption, my dear friends (mind you this is not a new discovery), is neither a monopoly nor a national delicacy of the Philippines. It is endemic to many, if not all, governments of the world. People simply fail, wittingly or unwittingly, to recognize that corruption exists; are confused by the manner in which it presents itself; or, quite frankly, apathetic to the reality that is corruption that the same has become the rule rather than the exception. Those who benefit from it, on the other hand, ignore corruption altogether for all the obvious and convenient reasons.

My dear friends, it is my humble submission that this failure by the different governments of the world to acknowledge that corruption actually thrives in their system and culture is the fundamental reason why efforts to curb the same constantly fail or remain to be exercises in futility.

As we are all much aware, corruption is a social ill that perpetuates the disparity between the rich and the poor. It is an underlying threat that constantly undermines sincere government efforts geared towards economic stability and national security. Corruption, succinctly, is a problem that breeds a whole gamut of other problems that plague most, if not all, countries around the world. If governments are to effectively arrest corruption on a global scale, they must be able to work closely together and identify where the problem lies. Governments must be able to assess their respective systems and bureaucracies in order to ascertain where corruption is most prevalent. This is where the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), I believe, would be of great assistance.

This gathering today of distinguished men and women of various parliaments around the world is especially significant as the host country is one that graciously accepts international criticisms regarding corruption and vows to combat and eradicate the same in all levels of government. Like the Philippines, the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) along with its regional chapter, the Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC), serves as an acknowledgement that corruption exists; it is a problem that should concern us all; and that we, as citizens of the world, can do something about it. I commend, therefore, the noble efforts of the GOPAC and the SEAPAC in bringing together parliamentarians and other stakeholders in the fight against corruption, and express my full support to the aims and advocacies of this conference. I believe I speak in behalf of my colleagues in the Philippine Senate when I say that the thrust of the GOPAC and the SEAPAC is perfectly in line with the unwavering commitment of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines to ferret out the truth as regards controversies involving government officials and more importantly, government funds.

My dear friends let me end by picking up from where I began. "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Philippines! Ours is not a perfect country, much less a perfect system of government. But the beauty lies in our peoples' never ending pursuit for change - for the benefit of Filipinos and the betterment of the Philippines. I sincerely hope that my people and my country serve as inspirations to all of us as we all sit down to tackle measures to stomp out corruption across the globe."

Thank you very much. Mabuhay po tayong lahat!

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